A lady in the stadium held the "Oh My Gado" sign up high and often, which said volumes about how unheralded and undrafted rookie Samkon Gado rushed for over 100 yards and scored 3 touchdowns to lead the Green Bay Packers to a stunning 33 - 25 upset victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Thus far this season the Pack has placed no less than 4 running backs on injured reserve due to injuries. There have been four different starters in as many weeks. On Sunday it was Gado time. Gado started only two games during his career at Liberty University, which is more known for producing preachers than football players, but in the unlikeliest of bizarre scenarios, Samkon Gado celebrated his 23rd birthday running the football for the Packers in grand style.
The gamblers pegged the Pack as 10 point underdogs as they ventured into Georgia and even the extreme partisans in the land of Cheese wondered how the Pack could possibly win against the talented Falcons on their home turf. The Packers came out smoking with two quick touchdowns on their first two possessions. Gado scored both, as the Cinderella story was about to unwind. Everyone loves a "rags to riches" success story and Gado played the part perfectly. Gado wasn't the only Packer to shine Sunday as Brett Favre, Donald Driver, Ryan Longwell and the entire defense stepped it up as well.
The Atlanta Falcons came into this game with the top-ranked rushing attack in the NFL. They are really good, and they came back in the first half with a couple scores and it seemed that maybe the momentum had changed in their favor in the second quarter. But the Packers' defense held the Falcons scoreless in the third quarter with a gritty toughness that was not there last year. The Pack's "no name" defense is a real tribute to Defensive Coordinator Jim Bates, who is living up to his esteemed reputation as a fine football coach.
Samkon Gado benefited from a change that the Packer coaching staff made in the offensive line last week when they benched Adrian Klemm and replaced him with Scott Wells at left guard. Look for that to be a permanent change as success bolsters these decisions, and Wells has a much bigger upside than does Klemm. Wells is tough as nails and can pull and run better than Klemm. Once Gado learns more about reading and picking holes, he may benefit even more from Wells' presence. Gado is quick and powerful and he is just what Cheeseheads need to add some spice to an otherwise miserable season.
Critics of Coach Mike Sherman will have to shut up this week because he did a magnificent job pulling off this victory. If the Packers can build upon their success against the Falcons by knocking off the Minnesota Vikings next week"¦who knows where that criticism goes the balance of this season. A victory in Titletown next Monday night would be sweet.
The Vikings got a weird victory against the Giants last week. They are a pretty pathetic lot, but when you are 2 - 7, self-criticism is more appropriate. For this week anyway, Cheeseheads can savor the victory that Gado gave us and look forward to Monday Night Football next week in Lambeau.